Weak borders hurt multiculturalism, PM tells UN

In his first speech to the United Nations in New York, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said countries with weak borders won’t be as successful as Australia.

Malcolm Turnbull at the United Nations

Malcolm Turnbull at the United Nations Source: SBS

Mr Turnbull centred his UN address on Australia’s border policies, military action in the Middle East and fight against climate change.

He reserved his strongest language for strong border protection.

“Secure borders are essential,” he told the chamber.

“Porous borders drain away public support for multiculturalism, for immigration, for aid to refugees.”

Mr Turnbull reiterated his claim that Australia was the most successful multicultural nation in the world and it was thanks to a realistic and pragmatic border protection scheme.

Some of Australia’s ingredients to success were “vigilant security agencies governed by the rule of law and a steadfast commitment to the shared values of freedom and mutual respect,” he said.

Mr Turnbull also put forward Australia’s credentials to become a member of the UN’s Human Rights Council.

“It is this maturity and honesty that Australia would bring to the Human Rights Council, should we be elected for our first ever term from 2018 to 2020,” he told the chamber.

In his 15 minute address, the Mr Turnbull said Australia’s military was helping to “put Daesh on the back foot” in the Middle East, and supported calls for stronger action against North Korea.

Despite criticisms from the Opposition and the Greens about his climate change policy, Mr Turnbull said Australia was a shining example of being a sustainable country.

“We are committed to ratifying the Paris Agreement and we are confident that we will meet our ambitious 2030 target which will have the consequence of us cutting our per capita emissions by 52 per cent,” he said.

Mr Turnbull closed his speech with a call to pragmatic action from UN member states.

“We must remain commitment to displaying the strength and courage to do what is needed in the face of great adversity,” he said of the refugee crisis.

“We must continue to show the compassion and understanding needed to ensure our societies are inclusive, diverse and resilient.”

Mr Turnbull also told reporters he had several conversations with US President Barack Obama over the last few days about the war in Syria and a visit by the President to Australia once he leaves office.

2 min read
Published 22 September 2016 at 10:57am